Marenzi back to co-run MGM global TV unit

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Veteran international television executive Gary Marenzi has joined MGM Studios Inc. as co-president of worldwide television, the company said Monday. He will be sharing overall responsibility for the division with Jim Packer, president of worldwide TV distribution.

Marenzi will work alongside Packer overseeing the studio's television sales operations. On a day-to-day basis, Marenzi will focus his efforts on the international marketplace, while Packer will focus on television distribution, channels and digital media for North America, working closely with Douglas Lee, executive vp worldwide digital media.

Marenzi and Packer will report to MGM COO Rick Sands, who made the announcement.

The move marks a return to MGM for Marenzi, who was president of the MGM Telecommunications Group from 1992-97, when he was responsible for all of MGM's international television and worldwide pay television business activities. He later became president of international television at Paramount Pictures for seven years.

Said Marenzi, who joins MGM just a week before the annual L.A. Screenings: "It's a really good feeling to return to my old stomping ground. This is the most comfortable place for me to be, and I can hit the ground running. I know the people, the rhythm of the organization and the library."

Marenzi said he is optimistic about the potential for the MGM library of films, including the James Bond franchise.

"It gives us a calling card and the flexibility to entertain creative deals," he noted. "MGM boasts incredible TV assets, and the international marketplace offers vast opportunities to distribute product and form additional long-standing alliances that will benefit MGM for years to come. Working alongside Jim and utilizing our complementary skills, we will aggressively expand our distribution reach and product offerings."

During his tenure at Paramount, Marenzi generated several billion dollars in license-fee revenue for Paramount feature films, TV programming and formats with TV broadcasters and cable channels outside the U.S. He also oversaw Paramount's TV co-production/co-financing operations that yielded the USA Network hits "The Dead Zone" and "The 4400."

Since June, Marenzi has been president of Ensequence Inc., where he spearheaded efforts to develop interactive television programming applications worldwide.

During the same time, he was president of Marenzi & Associates, which he founded in 2004. Some of Marenzi's clients included Lucasfilm Ltd. and Imax Corp.

"We are pleased to have Gary rejoining the MGM team," Sands said. "His vast knowledge of the marketplace and his prior experience with distributing the MGM assets will bolster our leadership position in television around the world. By teaming Gary with Jim, we now have assembled a formidable team that will grow MGM's business worldwide."

Added Packer: "MGM's television business continues to grow, and having Gary and I working as a team stands to benefit not only the studio but our partners as well. New ways to deliver and consume content are presenting themselves almost daily, and with our combined experience in the television business, Gary and I will give MGM a competitive advantage in capitalizing on these new opportunities."

Packer joined MGM in 2001 as executive vp domestic TV. He was promoted to executive vp worldwide television distribution in April 2005, charged with oversight of the studio's worldwide TV distribution activities, including the licensing of MGM programming to TV outlets around the world for free-to-air network television, basic and pay cable. Packer was named president of worldwide television at MGM in September.
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